Thursday, 2 January 2014


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Arguably, one of the most famous dinosaur fossils discovered is the feathered Archaeopteryx, which was found in 1861.  This dinosaur fossil caused controversy when it was first discovered in 1861.   

This feathered dinosaur lived in the late Jurassic period 150 million years ago and showed the link between dinosaurs and birds. Since than more than 20 species of dinosaurs with feathers have been discovered but there remain few examples of this fossil species. 

This rare fossil has only been found in the strata of the Jurassic age in Southern Germany.  This bird like fossil has a long, narrow nose with small teeth.  Its neck is slim and very bird like, but its tail is reptilian and the fingers on the wings are claw like.   It has a skull about the same size of a pigeon with large eye sockets and a relatively large brain. Most significantly the creature has bird like feathers around the wings and tail. However, its bones lack the hollow air cavity structures characteristic of birds.

The first discovered specimen is now housed in the British Museum (Natural History), London. A second fossil was discovered in 1877, and this was a better preserved individual.  A third example was discovered in 1951.  Since then several fossils have been identified as Archaeopteryx which had previously been misnamed due to the lack of feathers present on the fossil.

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